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Old 04-08-2010, 08:15 PM   #1
mgm
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Buying a Hitch, from what i have read...

I am new to Airstreaming and RVs in general. So after about 800 miles of towing, I have now come to the conclusion that sway control is imperative. I had some serious tail wagging with my Bambi before I sold it, and I do not wish to ever experience that again. Especially with my new 2007 25ft Safari. So I have been reading thread after thread and gathering as much info as possible before making my purchase.
And after a few private messages and reading about every thread possible. Here is what I have come up with.
I can afford to buy a Pro Pride hitch and was leaning that way from the start. Because from everything I have read the HAHA ( Hensley Arrow) and PP (Propride ) users have all stated that there is little out there that can come close to their respective products. They seem to perform solid for about every application and most of their users seem very pleased.
The only posted cons….have been for the weight of both systems, the costs, the paint on the HAHA and some other concerns such as the Hitching up time and some drawbacks while in reverse and maintenance, which is not a true con, since every system requires some form of it. In essence the con list isn’t too long, and in all actuality i would say the biggest con is the price.
So I have been looking for more evidence to justify the purchase of such an expensive hitch. Sean and Andy and all the others are convinced that the price of safety should be secondary, as the cost of sway control devices, and even the PP is a meager amount when placed in comparison to our TV and TT costs. And I think we can all agree on that.
Now the question is which one to buy?
My shortlist of competitors have been the Equalizer…and Reese Pro SC.
Andy weighs in a lot with the effect of “over hitching.” And regardless of what I purchase. I feel that his input is founded and rests more on the fact side then on mere opinion. I understand physics pretty well and if you control the trailer to the extent that it will not give or move under harsh conditions. Then those forces must be translated elsewhere, and the rivets and trailer will give in long before the frame. Hence all the posts i read about the popping of rivets and panel damage.
So I will try to purchase a weight distributing hitch based upon the ACTUAL tongue weight of my trailer at way. Which I figure will be around 1000lbs. I know that finding a scale would be the best calculation of this factor. But my tow vehicle is a bit under rated and by no means will i be over hitching as i believe my vehicle has pretty soft suspension. So based upon all i have read and the advice of some on here, i think the 1000lb rating will work for my application as a start.
The Reese fans, speak just as proudly of there product as any the others. And they make up a large portion the hitch market. So alot of people have experience and carry their product. Which is a big plus! But as i searched and read all the posts. The Reese hitches, seemed to always be ranked last by owners who owned them, and campared them to the equalizer or HAHA or PP. So as i have little experience with any of these hitches, i must take that into consideration.
And after reading about 6 posts that ranked them last, from experienced owners who have had multiple hitches. I decided there must be some merit behind that.
I have always been a fan of the fact that sometimes you must pay for quality, hence my purchase of the Airstream. So if i apply that same theory to hitches. That would bring me back to buying a PP.
Still hoping for a happy medium, i read everything i could about the Equal-i-zer. And its combined sway control and weight distributing hitch. Once again, their owners are just as proud as the rest and i did my best to make a list of pro's and con's.
The con's being the noise of the mechanism as its working or turning and the maintenance to maintain optimum sway control. Now, from what i have read on all the devices, the maintenance stuff seems to cancel out.
Small parts and pins, and bending bars, seemed more unique to the Equal-i-zer and Reese Hitches, so that con, i will keep for them both. But i feel that can be contributed to poor installation and other factors. Which i feel are preventable.
The remaining cons for the Equal-i-zer seemed to rest on the mounting brackets bowing. But after reading more, that seemed to be fixed with some basic welding. All of which requires work, but thats half the fun, right?
Now, for the pro's. For starters, i save about $2000 when compared to the cost of the PP, and about 100lbs of added weight. Give or take. To counter the comments made by those saying that the PP or Haha can respond wierd while in reverse, i had about just as many complaints about the Equal-i-izer making noise while turning. So i will say that those two equal out.
The added weight is a con for me, as my TV is underated for my TT. So for me, i had to give the edge to the Equalizer there..
Now for my conclusion. I read some interesting posts from a gentleman who utilized an Equalizer after having a Haha, and he seemed quite pleased with the Equalizer. Now, his comments were honestly countered by Sean, and i feel some vast improvements have been made since then.
And the PP seems to be the Creme de la Creme, but i just cant honestly justify its purchase when so many users seem so perfectly pleased with the Equal-i-zer and Reese products.
I have limited TT towing experience, but i had my one bad experience and dont wish for it to occur again. I feel confident that with a PP that it would not happen again. But i have read nothing on the multitude of posts that will lead me to believe that if i buy an Equal-i-zer that i will be any less safe. PERIOD
What i am familiar with is sway, i drive alot around the Midwest, and highwinds are the norm and i can often feel sway in my truck from the gusty winds or on coming traffic. It just cant be helped. Even while towing i know those affects will be acted on my vehicle and the goal is to limit the exasperation of that affect while those forces are acted on both the trailer and my truck.
And its my conclusion that the Equalizer, will serve me and my application the best. So thats the product i will start with.
I'm choosing it over the Reese products on the basis of what i have read. And ultimately the Equal-i-zer over the PP on the basis of results and price and weight ratio. I know they say the two cant be compared. But they both are made to do the same thing and i have seen little evidence that the results differ all that much to justify the extra $2k.
So thats where i'm starting, and for $400 off ebay brand new....
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350337690832&viewitem= &sspagename=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT
If i decided to buy a PP after this summer, I ll chalk it up as a lesson learned. Sean seems like a great guy with a great product, so will have no problem eating my words if it comes to that.
So i will keep you posted.
6000 mile trip planned for June…so the testing shall begin.

Michael Miller....the airstreamer who has a keen eye for junk lol
2008 Airstream Bambi- Wrecked
2007 Safari Special Edition 25ft FB flooded
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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my other thread....back to life. my "new" flooded 2007 Safari SE LS....
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:13 PM   #3
Halimer
 
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I have the Equalizer Hitch since June 07' and with about 10K miles. I am extremely happen with the performance and sway control. I have drive in very strong cross winds without any problems. If you get it, the plastic pads that the bars rest on. Very little noise. Also, there are new sway control brackets. If you order new get them with longer bolts that hold the 'L' brackets. You want to use a lock washer and nut vs the nylon lock nuts.

mark
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:34 PM   #4
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michael...

until one FEELs what towing with a pp/haha is like it's VERY hard to compare.

the experience is dramatic.

one can argue about safety, proper rigging and other things but everyone i know who gets behind the wheel with one of these hitches...

is WOWed big time.

i read the thread u reference comparing the haha to friction control hitch...

sorry but MOST of that guys thoughts are not based in reality.

but the LOGIC u are using (4 hitch selection) is fine and IF it turns out that you LIKE the eq' so be it.
__________

but here is the 10,000 lb elephant rolling around in this thread...

u are planning to tow the 25 footer with a chev' colorado?

the 04s mini trucks were rated to tow 2000-4000 lbs...

your stream is 5500-7300lbs...

no hitch fixes that issue.

am i missing something or is this in fact what you plan to use?

most of your other decisions (including buying 2 salvage trailers) have been sensible, so this is sorta shocking.

splain please.

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:55 PM   #5
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I plan on purchasing a new vehicle, but i guess i know that this time next year i will be heading to afghanistan. So it was my intent to do my best with the colorado for now. And although i thought it would be strain on her. She made the trip from Indinapolis to Akron...pretty easily. The thermostat was barely above normal operating tempertaures and although the RPMs climbed to 4400 up some of the hills, she ran at 1800rpm while traveling at 60mph on flat ground

I have an abundance of toys...and storage is always my issue. So i just dont know where i would put yet another vehicle. but i have been looking at some 1999-2002 Silverado 1500s that are reasonably priced. So dont bastardize me too much just yet lol.

I like my little Colorado and for the time being, i added an extra leaf and will see how she levels out after i get the EQ all hooked up. Worse case, i will also add some air bags to my truck if it doesnt level out more and then i will go from there.

So my search is on for a bigger truck...with a few more cylinders then my current 5. And i hope to upgrade when i can... I 'm just trying to finish a 1969 Camaro and old Corvette i have been working on and get some of my old boats repainted and my bachelor's budget has its limits. So in due time....
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:01 PM   #6
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For the record....

I did install a brake controller, and am gonna change out the GM hitch. Its under rated for the tongue weight, and the upgrade is pretty cheap.

So i'm doing my best to be safe in the time being.

Hoping to head out on 1-80 West in June and take it all the way to California....then diverting north to Redwood National Forest, then south to San Fran for a day and from there onto Yosemite/ Kings/ and Sequoia...

Then back to the coast for some surfing, and then the long trip home to make it back East. Hopefully stopping in Vegas for a day...you know for gas money haha. The Grand Canyon and then North to I-70 until i get towards Colorado and then back on 1-80 and home....

Thats the plan, whether or not the Colorado will be my horse. Is still up in the air.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:13 PM   #7
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Mike,

If you are concerned about the cost then go with an Equalizer or something equivalent. I have only used an Equalizer so I am no expert but I can tell you this. The safety of your towing set up involves a lot more than just the hitch. Your TV, the actual set up of the hitch and your responsibility while behind the wheel are important too. I pull my 25 FB with a Tundra that is a half ton and not heavily sprung if you get my drift. I pulled it 500 miles through horrendous winds with no sway at all. I know this hitch works for me. Will others work as well, no question that they will. Is the HaHa better? Perhaps but I wasn't willing to spend all the extra cash to gain a smidgen of advantage. Now before everyone piles on, I do not take my family's safety lightly. So don't go asking for my summer plans so you can avoid the roads I will be traveling.

Set up what ever you get correctly, load the trailer carefully, hitch it to a competent TV and drive wisely and you won't have a problem.

Airstreams really do tow better than any other trailer, 'nuf said.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #8
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no bastardizing here...

you DIPstick!

there are so many issues, i'm not sure where to even start.

does the truck have P metric tires? what are the LOAD ratings for those tires...

there isn't much point in weight distribution, IF all 4 truck tires are OVER loaded.

next is brakes.

i know the stream has brakes but given it's history just HOW RELIABLE are those brakes (wiring/connections and internals)...

i do NOT see the truck being capable of stopping 10,000 lbs if necessary.

then thera are the truck axles and suspension bits...

and so on.

the drive train would be my LAST concern, it's all of the CONTROL/handling/stopping issues that are most important.
__________

so perhaps u've considered ALL of these things and the risk is acceptable (especially compared to heading to the middle east)...

but is it reasonable to place EVERYONE else on the roadways at risk?

sorry but this particular choice reads very badly.

safe travels
2air'
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:50 PM   #9
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Forgive my "bastardizing" comment. My wit gets the best of me from time to time.

I have much fun reading all the forums and have gained an abundance of knowledge from the threads....

Many of which have come from you 2air....

which BTW...i took some advice that you gave to another club member about the Meguiars 2.0 wax and that stuff was worth every penny.

To address some of your concerns. With my trouble with the converter...i have made an appointment at the local Camping World, and have scheduled a Complete Inspection of the trailer and its systems...So i'm hoping that will make a short list of any more of my issues.

I did sell Bambi to a friend in JC and have pulled the brains of those guys on a few of my problems and on towing advice and i have done my best to heed their advice.

My family has some background in towing heavy equipment and my father has helped me out so far with my truck. I'm 25 and although i'm failry mechanical, besides towing a few boats. The whole skill is pretty green to me.

So i rely alot on those around me for advice and hope to learn as much as i can to make my time on the road as safe as possible.

I do however collect old boats, and have pulled them from St.Paul all the way to Lake Placid and and about every where in between. So driving safe is a staple for me.

In the Army we are taught to mitigate risk as much as possible and although my colorado and safari couple place me in a high risk category.

i believe safe driving helps reduce that risk exponentially. I tried to stay right at 60mph while driving the safari the 360 miles home last week, and i caught some abrupt stops outside of Indianapolis, and with the brakes honed in just right, and a safe following distance. I stopped her just fine, no white knuckling at all.

So for now, i will rely on the factors i can control.

My tires are rated at 2500lbs a piece and with a distruting hitch that should further help them out. As well as maintaining equal Tire pressure.

The trailer, i intend to tow dry, i dont see a need to have my freshwater tanks filled at all times and although this may change, for now. The trailer being dry, has handled just fine. And my Colorado, is far from bottoming out.

The drivetraine is a risk and strain that i feel is acceptable, with what i experienced during the 360 mile trip. She really didnt do that bad on the highway, now i'm sure the Continental Divide will challenge her and my wallet may like a little better gas mileage. But for now, were making due.

I plan to be a weekend warrior with my trailer in the future and although my long haul plans are in the near future i must decide if a another vehicle is necessay when i think about the application of the trailer and what i stand to gain when i intend to traditionally use the trailer within 400 miles of my house.

So i have pro's and con's each way. I have a buddy with a Duramax that may be joining me on my trip out west, so his truck may end up being the horse.

But for now, i'm trying to cover my bases with the Colorado
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:04 PM   #10
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MGM,

be very careful. That TV is grossly inadequate to tow that 'Stream. 2air makes excellent points about suspension, brakes, etc. There are at least two threads on this site about folks pulling 25ft or greater 'Streams with half ton full size vehicles and equalizer type hitches ending up in ditches, on their lids. One unlucky couple even rolled down a 300ft hill and were very fortunate to have survived.

Additionally, unless you have a ginormous tranny cooler, I highly doubt you'll make the continental divide on one transmission. YMMV. Good luck.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:15 PM   #11
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So are you saying that towing a 25 footer with a half ton pickup is a bad thing? Please enlighten us.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:40 PM   #12
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Read the accounts of the accidents and make your own conclusions. There are plenty of folks who use half tons to pull 25ft and larger trailers with no issues. I just know that I won't and if I had to, it would only be with a PP or Hensley.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream01 View Post
There are at least two threads on this site about folks pulling 25ft or greater 'Streams with half ton full size vehicles and equalizer type hitches ending up in ditches, on their lids. One unlucky couple even rolled down a 300ft hill and were very fortunate to have survived.

Hi, Can you link or title these threads? I don't remember reading anything about the type of hitch causing the problem. I have read about:

(1.) Way undersized tow vehicles.

(2.) Over loaded and going way too fast down hill on a curve passing a big rig.

(3.) Accident caused by inexperienced driver. [no towing experience]
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:43 AM   #14
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Rob, I did not mean to imply the hitch caused the problem, only that it was on the vehicle when the out of control sway condition reared its head.

I'll try to find the threads and post them. There was also another account of undersized tv, inadequate hitch in one of my Airstream Life mags that I'm trying to find.

Ok, I found the article in Airstream life, I'll get it scanned in a few minutes.

Here are the two threads I was referring to: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ngs-56634.html

and

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/our-loss-35568.html This one has disturbing photos as well.

Life is fragile, get the best equipment you can afford.
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